Earlier this week I came to the conclusion that Elizabeth Leete, who was born in about 1642, was almost certainly my 8 x great grandmother – the second wife of my 8 x great grandfather, Stepney mariner Captain William Greene, and the mother of my 7 x great grandfather, London goldsmith Joseph Greene. When she married William Greene, Elizabeth had been a widow for three years. Her first husband was a comfortably-off house carpenter by the name of John Elliott.

When I wrote my last post about Elizabeth, I’d forgotten that she was actually John Elliott’s second wife. When they married, at St Dunstan’s church, Stepney, in May 1656, Elizabeth was only 14 or 15 years old, while John was already 30, which means he was born in about 1626 (making him roughly the same age as Elizabeth’s second husband William Greene).

17th century christening party (Dutch School)

John Elliott’s first marriage was to a woman named Ursula or Ursly. I’ve yet to find a record of their marriage, but it must have taken place by 1647 at the latest. On 24th September 1648, when John would have been about 22 years old, their daughter Jane was christened at St Dunstan’s. John is described in the parish register as a house carpenter, and at the time the couple were living in Wapping. On 8th August 1651 John, son of John Elliott, carpenter of Shadwell, was buried, but I’ve yet to find a record of his birth. On 27th December 1652 another son named John was baptised at the same church: by this time the Elliotts were said to be living in Lower Shadwell. A third child, Dorothy, was christened on 11th March 1654, by which time the family were in Ratcliffe. In April 1654 an unnamed ‘infant daughter’ of John Elliott of Shadwell, house carpenter, and his wife Ursly, was buried at St Dunstan’s.

Ursly, wife of John Elliott of Ratcliffe, carpenter, died in 1655 and was buried on 29th September at St Dunstan’s. When John married Elizabeth Leete, a little more than seven months later, he gave his address as Ratcliffe Highway: it’s possible that this had been his address for a number of years and that the references to Shadwell and Ratcliffe in the records are to the same place.

Of the children from John Elliott’s first marriage, I’m not sure whether Jane and John were still alive when he married Elizabeth, though they are not mentioned in his will of 1672. His daughter Dorothy was certainly still living: the fact that she was still a baby might account for John’s haste in re-marrying. Dorothy would survive for another eleven years, dying in 1667 at the age of 13.